News / Africa

Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kenya

An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
Gunmen shot and killed a prominent Muslim cleric in Mombasa — the fourth religious leader to be killed in the Kenyan city in the past two years.

Police and witnesses say Sheikh Mohamed Idris, chairman of Kenya's Council of Imams and Preachers, was fatally shot in the stomach by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles as he left his house Tuesday to attend morning prayers at a nearby mosque.

The 65-year-old cleric was at the forefront of the fight against radicalization of Muslim youths in the Kenya's coastal region, and radical youths had accused him of working with the state to suppress them.

Investigators say the moderate cleric feared for his life and had been expected to testify in a Mombasa court Wednesday after filing a case against radical youths and the committee running the city's Sakina mosque for wrongful dismissal from his duties.

He had been thrown out of the mosque late last year by angry youths armed with knives. Before that, he led prayers and gave sermons at the mosque for 35 years.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, which follows a string of recent killings. All three Muslim leaders killed in Mombasa since 2012 were accused of having ties to al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group based in neighboring Somalia.

Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting militants who have retaliated with attacks in Kenya, most notably the assault on Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year in which more than 60 people were killed.

Religious leaders and government officials condemned Tuesday's killing and called on the security agencies to find the killers.

Mombasa City police Commissioner Nelson Marwa said an investigation is underway.

“It will be sustained until the culprits are brought to book," Marwa said. "We want to urge the leaders, we want to urge Mombasa residents and religious leaders to be calm and to give the government a chance to do its work.”

The commissioner also called for witnesses to volunteer information that can help the police to nab the assailants.

Hassan Mohamed Idris, the son of the slain cleric, told reporters that his father lived a private life for the past five months.

“As a family we told our old man it was not nice for the Muslims to fight each other because of you," he said. "Thank God he agreed to our request and went to Likoni to stay in his house and his farm. According to our younger brother he [had] seen unknown people with vehicles driving near the farm that we do not know.”

In an interview with VOA in late May, the slain cleric said young radicals were not happy with his stand that fighting in neighboring Somalia was not jihad, or holy way. He also said the youths tormented him and other officials in the streets by calling them names.

Visiting the family of the slain cleric on Tuesday, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who called himself close friend of Sheikh Idris, said it is not normal for so many murders to go unresolved, with police making no arrests.

“We are asking who is carrying out these killings," he said. "Is it a devil waking up one morning and going to fire bullet at people?”

Troubled region

Kenya's coastal region, a tourist hub where most of the country's Muslims live, has also been hit by a series of bomb attacks on churches over the past months blamed on Islamists linked to the Somali militants.

In Mombasa last April, gunmen shot and killed radical cleric Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, near a mosque. He was accused by the United States and United Nations of recruiting fighters and raising money for al-Shabab.

Sheikh Ibrahim Ismael was killed on a road near Mombasa in October 2013. Sheik Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in August 2012.

Human rights activists accused Kenyan security forces of killing the radical clerics — an allegation the government has strongly denied.

Previous shootings of clerics have sparked riots, and Sheikh Idris' brother, Ali Idris, urged people not to take the streets to protest.

"We are calling for calm ... we cannot carry out any revenge," Ali Idris said. "God will pay the killers."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fortunatus F Mkesha from: Kigoma,Tanzania
June 16, 2014 2:51 AM
very very,, wonderful and painful to all people from Kenya, Africa and Warld, actually those big national should find altenatives to, know all people that sponsoring that Al-Shabab, its real painful, we need major and strong power to fight against Those killers, thanks.

by: kalimullah from: pakistan gilgit baltistan
June 10, 2014 1:21 PM
poor peopels ecnomic killing in musalim countaries is bad to 911 with all war world war
.we are daily killing in pakistan .rich man is havy if we ask pakistani govt are army these peopels high jack all pakistan man woman grils and childaran

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs